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Light Play

Light Play
Light Play
Learners exploring how light interacts with different objects

Light Play lets you explore light, shadow, and motion using a variety of simple materials and light sources. Beginning with gently guided explorations of shadows, single and multiple light sources, three-dimensional objects and translucency, participants gain the proficiency and “light vocabulary” to express their ideas, and their creativity is sparked. They will work toward building kinetic light and shadow vignettes, and eventually combine them into a collaborative installation.


What are the qualities that we value in this activity?

New uses for everyday objects

Seeing common objects such as strawberry baskets, plastic mesh, toys, doilies behave in surprising ways leads to unexpected experiments with, and new tests of these things.

It’s a playful and inventive approach to learning about light and shadow

This is a playful and inventive way of exploring light, shadows, reflections, refraction, symmetry, and motion.

Collaborative Opportunities

Sharing each participant’s kinetic sculpture in a collaborative “light wall” is a good way for participants to contribute to the group’s understanding of the activity.

Reusable Materials and Components

This activity utilizes a set of materials that can be used again and again, by a variety of participants, in a variety of ways.

Light Play
Light Play


This activity is about de-mystifying what “making art” means and looks like, and who is allowed to do so, by using familiar materials that create unfamiliar and evocative effects, and by manipulating an element that is literally everywhere: light itself.


Try it!

We are passionate about sharing our work and developing a community of people interested in these activities, practices, and ideas. The guides below are free to download and use to help you get started with tinkering, whether it's at home, or in your school or educational institution.


Stacked light play boxes